World Music artist, composer and peace activist Yuval Ron will appear in concert with his international ensemble of musicians on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center’s Stuart Auditorium. The ensemble will also perform throughout the weekend for attendees of the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference.
The theme of this year’s Peace Conference is “Longing for Peace/Exploring the Heart of God,” and it features speakers from all three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Ron’s music explores the cultural history of the Middle East, from which all three religions emerged.
“I love being a missionary for peace, for a new vision of the world,” said Ron, who composed the songs and score for the Oscar winning film West Bank Story in 2007 and was the featured artist in the Gala Concert for the Dalai Lama’s initiative Seeds of Compassion in the Seattle Opera Hall in 2008. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Ron enjoys researching musical traditions and spiritual paths worldwide. His internationally renowned music and dance group, The Yuval Ron Ensemble, creates musical bridges between people of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths.
The Yuval Ron Ensemble represents the same unity the members espouse through their music. Ron plays the oud, a traditional instrument from his homeland in Israel. Yeminite-Israeli Maya Haddi sings vocals, Armenian-American Sauren Baronian plays woodwind, and American native Jamie Papish plays percussion. The Ensemble is also pleased to perform with guest percussionist River Guerguerian, who traces his roots to Canada, Armenia and Egypt.
“This is such a crucial time to work toward peace and unity,” said Ron, whose extensive travels have engendered in him a growing concern for the environment. “The Earth is in decline, and we need to work together to heal our planet, but we cannot. Too many people are in survival mode, where their only question is will they live through the day? Will their children?”
The Yuval Ron Ensemble uses modern and ancient instruments and dance to celebrate individual cultures as well as demonstrate their common ground. For Ron, this process is a calling of individual conscience—a calling he sees other artists heeding as well. “It is time for our coming of age in all nations. Just as children believe their world is only about themselves, and then they grow to see they are part of a larger family and a larger community, that is what the many nations must also experience.”
Although he has seen firsthand many of the crises in the world, Ron remains optimistic. “We are learning we cannot poison our neighbor’s stream without eventually poisoning our own water supply. We are learning a new way of seeing . . . and a new moral code for all: to love thy neighbor. The golden rule is at the heart of all great religions of the world.” For Ron, that new vision comes most easily through education and celebrations of song and dance.
Concert tickets are available in advance through the Lake Junaluska registration office at 800-222-4930 for $15 each; children 12 and under are free.
The Lake Junaluska Peace Conference will feature three keynote speakers: Rabia Terri Harris, founder of the Muslim Peace Fellowship, the first organization specifically devoted to Islamic active nonviolence; Rabbi Or Rose, founding director of the Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College and co-director of the Center for Interreligious and Community Leadership Education, a joint venture of Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School.; and Rev. Dr. Sam Wells, vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London and former Dean of Duke University Chapel and research professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School. Registration is $145. Students may attend for $60.
Find more information at www.lakejunaluska.com/peace or by calling 800-222-4930.